TOKYO, JAPAN – The Russian Olympic Committee’s team has won the gold medal in women’s team gymnastics after U.S. gymnast Simone Biles quit on her team and the country.
Her withdrawal allowed the Russian delegation to win the gold medal. Russia has been suspended from Olympic competitions after the IOC found Russian athletes guilty of doping. While athletes who were not involved are allowed to compete, Russia cannot technically field athletes under the country’s identity.
Initially, Americans were told Biles withdrew from the competition because of an injury. It was later discovered that she withdrew for mental health reasons after a lackluster performance earlier in the competition.
“Whenever you get in a high stress situation, you kind of freak out,” the 24-year-old Olympic gymnast told reporters. “I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being. I felt like it would be better if I took a back seat.”
Now, she’s saying she left her teammates so she didn’t ruin their chances of winning the medal.
“I was like: I think the girls need to do the rest of the competition without me. They were like ‘I promise you’ll be fine, we watched you warm-up’. But I said ‘no, I know I am going to be fine but I can’t risk a medal for the team and I need to call it,” Biles later said.
“It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel that I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t effect me, but damn sometimes it’s hard,” she posted on Facebook.
Biles became the most decorated Americn gymnast of all time after the 2016 Rio Olympics.